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Masturbation and brazen sex antics spark booze row at King’s Cross hostel

07:02 23 January 2014

Journeys Hostel in King's Cross

Journeys Hostel in King's Cross

Archant

Backpackers masturbating out of windows, taking drugs and having sex on the roof are three reasons why a youth hostel shouldn’t be allowed to sell booze, neighbours claim

Journeys Hostel, in Caledonian Road, King’s Cross – popular among visiting Australians and South Africans – want permission to sell alcohol in their basement until 11pm in the week and midnight at weekends.

Furious residents have written to the town hall asking them to block the move – due to what they say is a litany of lurid sexual 
exploits and boozy drug-taking at the four-floor, 144-bed backpacker haunt.

One neighbour, who asked not to be named, described the “stressful reality” of the “sleep deprivation and nuisance” caused by guests’ sex-crazed antics.

Antisocial

She said: “Guests repeatedly climb out of the bedroom windows onto the low-level roof to smoke, drink alcohol, play music and dance with the utmost disregard for people trying to sleep. They are often seen urinating into our gardens too and even brazenly have sex.”

They added: “Just last Thursday while washing the dishes at my kitchen window, my partner and I witnessed a male visitor at the third floor window openly masturbating and joking and shouting to his companions below in the rear open area to mind their heads as he ejaculated out of the window.”

The bathroom windows are see through, the neighbour says, and people can clearly be seen sitting on the toilet wiping their bottoms.

The embattled resident went on to describe the nightly fight to sleep amid the foul language and constant fights, as well as the pavements being blocked by guests on the street smoking “spliff, wacky backy, marijuana”.

Another resident said the application was ridiculous because the area was already rowdy, unsafe and had unmanageable crime rates.

Yet another neighbour complained about groups of schoolchildren who stay in the hostel, asking: “How will staff ensure that these children do not get hold of any alcohol if it were made available on the premises?”

But Sean Fox, who works for the Journeys hostel chain, said these complaints dated back to a previous tenure.

He said: “This stuff is a massive surprise. We heard some horror stories about people having sex in rooms, but we evicted the manager who was in charge then – we acted quickly and got rid.

“Now we have bars on the windows and extra staff. We monitor our guest feedback forms, but in terms of the neighbours we only know what they tell us and we haven’t heard anything for two years.

“We believe the problems have been rectified and this bar will make things even better because we can monitor the place where people are drinking.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about backpackers which we are trying to shake. They are not drop-outs, many of them have degrees and contribute to the economy.”

The application was set to go before an Islington Council licensing committee on Tuesday, but was adjourned until February 25.

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